Fleming PS, Marinho V, Johal A Orthodontic measurements on digital study models compared with plaster models: a systematic review. Orthod Craniofac Res. 2011; 14:1-16
Assessment of the reliability of measurements taken on digital orthodontic models obtained from scans of plaster models in laboratory scanners. A systematic review and meta-analysis. 2022.
Goracci C, Franchi L, Vichi A, Ferrari M Accuracy, reliability, and efficiency of intraoral scanners for full-arch impressions: a systematic review of the clinical evidence. Eur J Orthod. 2016; 38:422-428
Rossini G, Parrini S, Castroflorio T Diagnostic accuracy and measurement sensitivity of digital models for orthodontic purposes: a systematic review. Am J Orthod Dentofac Orthop. 2016; 149:161-170
Rangel FA, Chiu YT, Maal TJJ Does powdering of the dentition increase the accuracy of fusing 3D stereophotographs and digital dental casts. Eur J Orthod. 2016; 38:440-445
Grünheid T, McCarthy SD, Larson BE Clinical use of a direct chairside oral scanner: an assessment of accuracy, time, and patient acceptance. Am J Orthod Dentofac Orthop. 2014; 146:673-682
Kang SJ, Kee YJ, Lee KC Effect of the presence of orthodontic brackets on intraoral scans. Angle Orthod. 2021; 91:98-104
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Digital scanning in orthodontics: a literature review

From Volume 17, Issue 1, January 2024 | Pages 25-30


Murray Irving

BDS, MFDS RCS (Eng), Dental Core Trainee (Restorative Dentistry)

Restorative DCT, Cardiff

Articles by Murray Irving

Email Murray Irving

Kieran Nandhra


Dental Core Trainee (Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery), Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, Bedfordshire NHS Trust

Articles by Kieran Nandhra

Suhavi Singh

Dental Core Trainee (Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery)

Bristol Royal Infirmary, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust

Articles by Suhavi Singh

Nikhil Gogna

BDS (Hons), MFDS RCS (Glasg), DClinDent, MOrth (Eng), FDS (Eng)

Locum Consultant Orthodontist, Bristol Dental Hospital, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust

Articles by Nikhil Gogna

Email Nikhil Gogna


The landscape of orthodontics is changing, and the transition to digital workflows in clinical practice has begun. As new and updated scanner models are regularly being released, it is paramount to assess the current evidence base and compare this to manufacturer claims. At present, there are limited literature reviews assessing and summarizing the clinically relevant features of dental scanners. This review summarizes key findings with respect to accuracy, patient-related outcomes and clinician experiences with digital dental scanners.

CPD/Clinical Relevance: Digital scanners are an increasingly popular device in orthodontics, this article provides an up-to-date summary of the pros and cons of scanners in relation to both the patient and orthodontic clinician.


Both intra-oral scanners and extra-oral laboratory scanners are gradually replacing conventional methods of diagnosis and treatment planning (Figure 1). Digital scanning has several advantages over its analogue counterparts, including reduced need for physical storage of casts, transferable data for communication with patients and other dental professionals, and the ability to visualize three-dimensional (3D) models almost instantly. However, they are not without drawbacks, some of which include expensive set-up and maintenance costs, and a significant learning curve for all those involved in adopting the technology.

Alginate impressions taken for the construction of plaster casts are the most common method used in clinical practice, aiding in orthodontic treatment planning. These are currently still accepted as the gold standard,1 but these come with significant disadvantages such as model damage, transport and pouring inaccuracies, as well as time taken to fabricate models and the subsequent need for storage. As of May 2023, the NHS Records Management Code of Practice recommends that clinical dental records be kept for at least 11 years.2 With recent developments and reductions in costs of dental scanners, there has been an increase in popularity of virtual models. However, for a patient's occlusion to be correctly assessed, and for teeth to be moved predictably and effectively, it is imperative that the models we use are accurate.

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